Rescued horses go to Graceland Priscilla Presley adopts animals saved from slaughterhouse by Palermo woman. Max will never be able to thank Carol-Terese Naser for saving his life.
He will never be able to thank Priscilla Presley for adopting him and giving him a new home. Then again, Max is a 3-year-old bay horse.
Max and his brother, Merlin, a magnificent chocolate-colored creature, were scheduled to be slaughtered -- along with four other horses in their family in QuŽbec -- last summer. Naser, who has had horses of her own since she was a child, stepped into action and bought all six horses just days before they were to be taken to the slaughterhouse. "If we hadn't done this when we did, they'd all be long gone," said Naser, of Palermo. "They would've been (killed) in QuŽbec."
Naser and her friend Cathy Cleaveland found out soon enough that it wasn't easy -- or cheap -- to care for six horses. So they decided to start fundraising. "We sent T-shirts to celebrities we knew were passionate about animals," Cleaveland said. "We requested they autograph the shirt, then send it back. We were going to auction them." Country crooner Alan Jackson, former Catwoman Julie Newmar and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host Ty Pennington, among others, signed and sent back the shirts for auction, Naser said.
Nothing, however, prepared Naser or Cleaveland for the phone call that would change Max's and Merlin's lives. "I answered the phone and Priscilla Presley was on the other end," Cleaveland recalled with a laugh. "I didn't believe it at first." Yes, that Priscilla Presley -- former wife of The King, Elvis Presley.
An animal lover, Presley told the women she wanted to adopt Max and Merlin to give them a permanent home at Graceland, the nearly 14-acre spread, 23-room mansion in Memphis that Elvis shared with Priscilla and their daughter until the couple's divorce in the early 1970s.
"I have always had a bond with horses," Presley said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "Elvis gave me my very first horse. It was the horses that made Graceland home to us." Presley, who called herself "the kid who had to rescue all the animals" growing up, said that when she received the T-shirt from Naser and Cleaveland, the story of the near-slaughter struck her. "It haunted me," Presley said. "I couldn't sleep because I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to do that."
Presley and Naser stayed in close contact over the next several months to work out the details of the horses' arrival at the national landmark. "(Presley) is smart when it comes to animals," Naser said. "She knows the kind of care these horses need. She really gets it." Max arrived at the estate Jan. 10 -- two days after what would have been Elvis Presley's 73rd birthday, Naser said. Merlin will follow in the spring.
Presley, who called Naser's saving act "an unbelievable labor of love," said it is her desire to educate people about horse slaughter, including spreading the word about a national call-in day Tuesday to permanently ban the practice.
"I know the bill (to ban the practice) is stalled right now and I have no idea why," Presley said. "I would urge everyone to call their senators and U.S. representatives about this."
For Naser's part, she hopes people would view the equines as more than just standard farm animals. "(Max and Merlin) are a symbol of horses who escaped the slaughter," she said.
Source: Google / Updated: Jan 18, 2008